Propaganda 25 ch07

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             8-BIT THOUGHTS
      Observations of our digital
      culture as seen by two great
       thinkers from PROPAGANDA.

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                    |by Jack Daniels.|

What is the scene all about? Some recent
incidents made me think about this basic
question once more. I don't want to talk
about the things that have happened over
the last weeks or months - some know
what I am talking about, others don't.
All I want is you to think, think about
what I write here.

It really makes me wonder, today as much
as eleven or twelve years ago, when I
entered the scene, how serious some
people take the scene. It seems to me
as if those guys want to compensate

their luckless or even destroyed pri-
vate life in the scene. I have seen lots
of pretenders over the years, on the
boards for example they have been trying
to impress the others by their behaviour
but when it came to a meeting IRL (=in
real life) you could see who is behind
the mask and sometimes couldn't resist
laughing. If only half of what people
wrote and said over the years would be
true, we would all be driving Porsche.

People try to build up an image which is
the absolute contrast of what they are
in real life. All the want is to gather
some attention and respect. Hiding be-
hind handles as well as the Internet as
in this or any other scene allows them
to be someone else, just like during

On the other hand this is a chance for
those people to gather some selfconfi-
dence but it is a danger on the other
hand as well. Users of the Internet and
sceners are mostly anonymous - noone has
to know the real identity of them and
they can pretend to be anyone they want
to be, unless they take of their masks.

I just read an article about the first
group of "anonymous Internet addicts"
here in Germany. The stories of most of
these people were horrible. They gave up
all private contacts outside the net and
spent all of their day online. A lot of
them lost their jobs because they could
not concentrate on anything else than
the Internet. They were nervous and were
just waiting to come home and switch the

computer on. Just like a drug. Is that
the real meaning? (ED.YES!)

The computer and especially the scene is
and will always be a hobby, no drug and
especially no substitute for the real
life. If God wanted us to live our life
in the Internet we would have been born
as bytes. So honestly, what is the se-
nse of warring about a first-release,
having trouble with others, cheating
and pretending to be somebody you
aren't? Okay, the scene needs competi-
tion like every place in the world, if
virtual or real, but some people just
take it too seriously and exaggerate the
whole affair. What is it that counts?
Meeting people as well as in private,
having fun and the friendship is what
counts, not who was first in releasing

a game or who is the best in ragging
others down.

The friendship in the scene of the
Commodore 64 is something very special
and unusal and that is what makes the
scene itself so special in comparsion
with others. Let us keep it that way!

In the next issue of PROPAGANDA I will
talk and write about this particular
aspect of the everlasting C64-scene -
the friendship. Stay tuned..

I'd appreciate your feedback.

Yours sincerly,


+-------------------------+     +------+
|MOVING TO THE NET    NOWI|     |Midfit|
|MOVING TO THE NET _  NOW.|     +------+

Hello Propaganda reader,

after exchanging several e-mails with
NEWSCOPY I am very happy to be chosen
to report about the wide virtual world
of the Internet, the place to be and the
place, once visited making you addicted,
resulting in a high phonebill. I want to
speak about the FUTURE of the BOARDSCENE
today as it is a very actual topic due
to all USBBS'es being blacklisted by the
major USA Phonecompanies making it im-
possible to reach them at the moment.

The Commodore 64 was always a BBS-inf-
luenced sysstem and some newcomers may
ask themselves why it was like that.
Well, the question is easily answered by
covering the happenings during the years
of 1986/87. The fresh n' young C64-scene
was at that point still a mailtrader
world. It was simply a lot people who
exchanged their latest productions and
cracks. And what else could be made as
putting all these nice games on a floppy
and send it over the to the place of
their contacts. There were so many games
released a month that everybody had di-
fferent games and made different send-
ings. While the Europeans seemd to be
happy to work in this kind of way, the
USA scen, covering groups like EAGLE

were not pleased with the mailway of
spreading cracks. It needed weeks for
a European crack from groups like HOT-
LINE and TRIAD to reach the states by
mail. And the other way around, of

The USA, as the new modern world had
always had very reasonable prices on
hardware. And up-to-date. At this point
the Americans were already exchaning
their files through modems (at that time
only at a mere 75 Bauds). This way of
transfering brought the American scene
on to a new idea of importing all the
amazine quality and quantity from Eur-
ope. You must know that the European
titles were never intended to be re-
leased in America, maybe due to the fact
that companies did not quite know how

to fix or for some other reason. The
games situation was not shinging bright,
nice titles from EPYX but not enough to
cover the thirst and demand. The Amer-
icans began to direct their interest in
importing software from Europe. The plan
was easy as they were already used to
call up their European contacts through
the use of tollfree PBX'es and the use
of codes they received from the American
hack/phreak-scene. Furthermore modems
were cheap in the states while they cost
a fortune in Europe. The Americans star-
ted to buy modems for their European
connections. The modems were either
carded or bought by a supporter of the
USA-groups who got games in exchange.
The American groups started calling
Europeans like HEADBANGER and HOTLINE
and convinced them exchange software.

The wish on the American scene was to
be on an exclusive tradingbasis with as
many of the European crackinggroups as
possible. I don't need to tell you that
it was plain easy to import a game -
you only needed buy the cool groups the
modem, have a code and dial your Euro-
pean partner.

It did not take long for the groups to
get in trouble. They exchanged software
and the great difference between Euro-
pean 64's and American ones. Diskloaders
crashed and intros as well as games fl-
ickered like hell. Many actually thought
that their American/European partners
were not able to code properly and la-
ughed. It led to the fact that people
started to fix for each other. FBR and

ESI on the American side, and HOTLINE,

All in all, it was easy to import a
game and it didn't require much know-
ledge. You didn't even need a good su-
pplier who could give you fast originals
for no money. Quite quickly a flow of
import-only-groups grew up, mainly on
the American side, but THE SOFTRUNNER
GROUP is an example of a European import
-only label. Quickly these groups real-
ized that it was totally pointless to
import several versions of the same
game and started to import an EXLCUSIVE
VERSION. This meant that if for instance
FBR imported the TRIAD-version and man-
aged to fix loader-systems nobody else
would import the FAIRLIGHT-version.

At the same time the time-difference was
between Europe and the USA was starting
to bother the involve. Bulletin board
systems had been around for quite a long
time but had never been accessed by the
Europeans. To enable the Europeans to
call them and upload their games, they
tried to get wares-addicted freaks into
the business. These would be supplying
the Europeans with codes. In later time,
the BBS'es became more of a wares-data
base, but not only for one group but for
all groups. Virtually all European of
class had modems and uploaded their
software at all times.

The term FIRST RELEASE came up due to
an agreement beteween American groups
so there would be no double-imports.

The challenge was speed and quality and
wars filled the message-areas on the
baords. This is also what made the
boards so popular - to be part of the
competition, to exchange the latest and
to be in contact with the elite. And at
that point it was very attractive beca-
use there were several ways to call out
for free both for America and Europe.

Unfortunately, times changed. Phreaking
became a business supported by the Amiga
and PC quickly gaining ground. They re-
alized selling ways to call out was more
profitable than selling the game itself.
They would be selling calling cards,
PBX'es or Blueboxes. Many people follow-
ed this trend and in 1993 it began to
get worse for these people. The profit
they gained was gone, FBI in cooperation

with INTERPOL attacked the people behind
the supply and we all know how that end-
ed. Several people got busted and seve-
ral people got out of their mess by co-
operating with the law.

More people got busted and it did not
take long until there was a real lack
of cards. Even the big groups couldn't
call out any longer. To make the sit-
uation even worse, Blue boxing became
nearly impossible. Only a couple of
guys could call out, and it was by far
not as regular as it was in the past.

We, the Commodore 64-scene always focus-
ed on the major BBS'es lost the American
part of the scene - which wasn't that
active any longer anyway! PC- and Amiga-
people searched for new ways.

They found the Internet and they were
really in the need of it. Doublereleases
could be avoided - something that was
usual due to the immense speed their
scenes were travelling in on the PC,
Amiga and on consoles. Communication
was now based on IRC Channels on Efnet
and wares flooded through FTP-sites of
certain elitegroups.

And still the CBM64 stuck to their pri-
cinples. People tried to get hold of
the very last cardsuppliers and hackers
enabling them to call out. But we all
could see - the American boardscene was
getting slower and slower. Far too many
people got busted and many didn't want
to pay in risking a good part of their
life just for using cards. Still, rules

remained and we still had to stay around
to get out with the firstreleases on
the American boards. Many groups got
beaten only because they ran out of ways
to call out.

Some groups like MOTIV8, indeed a cont-
roversial group followed the PC/AMIGA-
and console-scene by exploring the
Internet. Groups like SCS*TRC, F4CG and
CHROMANCE started setting up FTPs and
the new market got a steadily growing
audience. More and more people expressed
their thoughts that it was rather point-
less to keep up a BBS-dominated first-
release-sceene if the American scene
vanished years ago anyway. Besides, the
FTP-scene is much more global than a
BBS. The Americans left soon accepted
the FTP's and it did not take very long

for a magazine to come along. PROPA-
GANDA, the magazine I am writing this
article for was the first one to present
us an Internet-related Chartsystem -
refused to be accepted by other groups.
Their arguments were weak too, saying
the BBS-system made our scene unique
while calling the two remaining elite-
boards a call.

The blacklisting in the USA proved
these people wrong. Less action is
taking place in the USA only, while
the IRC #C-64 and the audience of old
elite, newbees and normal sceners pay-
ing time to visit daily. And we're
seeing the other scenes who do not care
about codes any longer where the BBS-
scene is almost expolited. The Internet
makes it possible to exchange wares at

a good speed and it unitess the people
through one concept. In former times
you had to search the BBS for a certain
people to leave him Email. Now you can
leave him a direct Email his account or
meet him on the IRC.

What is the point of holding up in a
system which is considered to be dead
by all the other scenes? The messages
in the subs and the union between
subs and fileareas??

Yes, the FTPs surely don't give the
feeling of a BBS. And a mailinglist
doesn't give the feeling of a sub. Why
transfer with 24OO bps if there are
enough tools to connect your 1541 to
a PC/Amiga and transfer files from

Now there was daylight again. LEGEND
returned to the scene introducing a new
principle to live with. A web-BBS!
Running on the progam QCBBS invented
by UNCLE D, also known as DAVE/LEGEND.
It has been well appreciated since the
day of the first version running and
we encounter heavily growing interest
by the scene. Since a few months the
BBS offers a file-base and should be
seen as a great possiblity to make the
daily boardlife livable. No need of
codes. Just a very fast way to get
the wares around.

Is this the step to the net? The quest-
ion should be: is it not? I discussed
this topic with several people in the
scene. Some are for, some against. Some

fear the scene will die from it. It we
look over the whole topic, we encounter
that this BBS already achieved more re-
gular visists in the last days than any
American BBS did before the fall of the
American boards. We know that this QCBBC
is also something for hardcore C64-fre-
aks who access the net through the C64.
So there is absolutely no way to keep
up with something that is doomed to
die. Phreaking is doomed to die but
should we let our C64-scene die to?
No! We should try to keep up with our
tradition but try to find new ways,
encountering the facts that C64-emul-
ators get popular and many people who
are outside of the scene and who don't
own a C64 anylonger have now also
access to the latest releases of the


Some of the sceptic audience I tried to
question on this subject said to me they
are afraid that smaller groups who are
not used to boards will try to get into
the firstreleasing business. Well, and
if so, I think that as long as they
stick to the rules and don't act dumb
we have to live with it.

Every group was at a beginning phase,
so I don't understand these words. I
don't think anybody would have success
in taking place in the 64 crackingscene
if he does not stick his groupconcept

tight and to the rules and the tradition
we have. Rags and wars will come quickly
if not. And by the way, if you don't
gvie a chance to the new groups I don't
see the sense in the scene. I think
these people forgot that a group like
STRIKE FORCE once was small. And a group
like MOVERS knew about their potential
and gave them the chance.

Tradition, yes. Rules, yes. But we can't
reanmiate something that died. Is not
the Internet to be seen as a gift? I
think it is. Not only in private life
but also in the scene. It is cheap and
will be much cheaper in the years to
come. Why am I seeing such a fear when
I ask people about the Internet? Don't
they all forget there is always a tom-
orrow? It may not be as stunning as the

old BBS-days in the first years but the
real stunning action is since long gone.
We are only here to keep the spirit of
the 64 - a spirit you cannot explain
that is not comparable to other scenes.
We should try to keep this spirit alive
as long as possible.  This is only pos-
sible if we keep our wares machine pro-
ducing. We got competition through the
boards. But is it really important where
the competition takes place? The thrill
is to beat the others.

Think it over. Be sure that one fact
remains. The US boards are yesterday
and the Internet is the future.

It has always been the same, since the
day Amiga was released. Everybody was
talking about the end of the C64. As

companies like OCEAN and RAINBOW ARTS
stopped to produce for our beloved
machine people people said it was soon
to die. And still most of the highlights
of the scene had not been seen. The
new scene will be with us when we move
to the Internet. Don't try to turn back
time, because you can't. If we look at
the states, the country which is always
a step in front of us we encounter that
86% of all the public BBS'es are gone,
either down due to usersupport or using
the local cheap rates through being on-
line via Telnet. (ED. NOW THAT WOULD
And we know that 86% is no value we
can express through numbers. So we see
that we are a bit late with finally de-
ciding which way we want to go. We
should try not to be too late. Just in

interest for our little beloved
C64Kbyte machine.

Yours truly,

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